Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 vs. Dell XPS 15

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 vs. Dell XPS 15

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 and the Dell XPS 15 sit at the top of our list of best 15-inch laptops for several reasons. They’re both incredibly well-built and fast, and they offer excellent large-format displays.

But they are not identical. In fact, they’re quite different, with the XPS 15 aiming to be a more portable 15-inch laptop and the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 serving as the most powerful mainstream ThinkPad. Check out our comparison to see which one is right for you.

Specifications and configurations

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5Dell XPS 15 9520
Dimensions14.15 inches x 9.99 inches x 0.7 inches13.56 inches x 9.06 inches x 0.73 inches
Weight4.14 lbs4.22 pounds (non-touch)
4.62 pounds (touch)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i7-12800H
Intel Core i9-12900H
Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900HK
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Intel UHD graphics
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
16 GB DDR5
64 GB DDR5
16 GB DDR5
64 GB DDR5
Show16.0-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS
16.0-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS 165Hz
16.0-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS
15.6-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS
15.6-inch 16:10 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED
15.6-inch 16:10 UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS
Storage256 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
4TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Ports2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x nano SIM (optional)
Full size SD card reader
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Full size SD card reader
WirelessWi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam1080p with Windows 11 Hi infrared camera720p with Windows 11 Hi infrared camera
Operating systemWindows 11Windows 11
Battery90 watt-hours86 watt-hours
Grading3.5 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars


The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is built for performance, but that doesn’t mean it’s thicker or heavier than the XPS 15, which is built to be a highly premium 15-inch ultrabook. In fact, the ThinkPad is thinner at 0.70 inches versus 0.73 inches and lighter at 4.14 pounds versus 4.62 pounds. It’s an inch deeper thanks to a slightly larger display and thicker display bezels.

The ThinkPad differs in its thermal design, which is tuned more aggressively to maximize airflow and heat, and in its ease of expansion, including dual SSD slots. It is also made of aluminum in the chassis and carbon fiber in the lid, which contributes to its light weight. The XPS 15 has an aluminum chassis and lid and carbon or glass fiber on the keyboard deck. It’s a denser laptop, but both machines are incredibly rigid and exude durability. The hinge on both is smooth and confident.

Aesthetically, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 maintains the iconic black-on-black color scheme with red accents, and the high-end display offers a carbon weave on the lid. It’s a bolder look than the streamlined silver chassis of the XPS 15 with black or white keyboard deck. The XPS 15 looks more modern, but if you’re a fan of the ThinkPad aesthetic, you’ll love the X1 Extreme Gen 5.

Both laptops have excellent keyboards with plenty of travel, precise, fast switches and comfortable bottom actions. The ThinkPad’s keycaps are slightly larger and more sculpted, but the XPS 15 has better key spacing. Either way, you’ll love typing on both machines. The ThinkPad includes the usual TrackPoint nubbin in the middle of the keyboard, and its two buttons take space away from the relatively small touchpad. The XPS 15’s touchpad, on the other hand, is large for a Windows machine and a better overall experience. Both laptops offer touchscreens as an option.

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is much stronger in connectivity, with a solid mix of Thunderbolt 4 and legacy ports. Both laptops support the latest wireless connectivity, but the ThinkPad also has optional 5G WWAN support for always-connected internet.

Finally, the ThinkPad also has a 1080p webcam, which is much better than the XPS 15’s old-school 720p version. Both laptops have infrared cameras for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition along with fingerprint readers. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 offers better overall security and manageability for enterprises thanks to its vPro processor support.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We reviewed the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 with the 45-watt Core i7-12800H CPU with 14 cores (six Performance and eight efficient) and 20 threads, along with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. The XPS 15 we reviewed was equipped with a Core i7-12700H, a slightly slower clocked version of the same processor, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti.

The ThinkPad was faster in most of our benchmarks, with the XPS 15 holding its own in our handbrake test when set to performance mode. We noticed that Lenovo improved the GPU in the ThinkPad’s performance mode, which is reflected in both the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that uses the GPU to speed up certain operations in Adobe’s application and the 3DMark Time Spy test. Both laptops are very fast for productivity tasks and can also handle creative processes, but the ThinkPad is significantly faster.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5
(Core i7-12800H)
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Geek Bank 5
(single / multi)
Balance: 1,783 / 12,354
Performance: 1,768 / 12,020
Balance: 1,470 / 9,952
Performance: 1,714 / 11,053
Ball: 77
performance: 77
Ball: 100
performance: 77
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Balance: 1,861 / 14,561
Performance: 1,859 / 14,609
Balance: 1,509 / 11,578
Performance: 1,806 / 13,313
Pugetbench Premiere ProBall: 720
performance: 928
Ball: 760
performance: 729
3DMark Time SpyBalance: 5,494
Performance: 9,114
Balance: 4,470
Performance: 4,520

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 can be configured with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU, making it a much faster laptop. The XPS 15 is fine with its RTX 3050 Ti, but the ThinkPad has a lot more headroom if gaming is important to you.


Dell XPS 15 9520 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We tested both laptops with their UHD+ IPS displays, and both delivered excellent results when tested with our colorimeter. They are bright, enjoy excellent contrast for IPS screens and have wide and accurate colors. They may not have the inky blacks of OLED panels (though Dell offers them as an option), but they’re both spectacular displays for creators. They’re also ideal for productivity users and media consumers, the latter thanks to Dolby Vision support for high dynamic range (HDR) that makes streaming high-resolution video a joy.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5
Dell XPS 17 9720
AdobeRGB spectrum99%100%
sRGB spectrum100%100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
Contrast ratio1 520:11 870:1


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 left side showing ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

These are both large laptops that take up a bit of space in a backpack, and neither is particularly light. However, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is a bit lighter and thinner, while being a bit deeper.

The ThinkPad also has a larger battery, and it saw slightly better battery life in our series of tests. However, given the power inside these laptops, neither is going to last a full day’s work performing any kind of demanding tasks. And both have larger power bricks that are a bit of a hassle to carry around.

Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Web browsing9 hours, 38 minutes7 hours, 36 minutes
Video12 hours, 40 minutes13 hours, 5 minutes
PCMark 10 Applications11 hours, 14 minutes7 hours, 3 minutes


Sometimes you need to consider how well a laptop meets its design criteria rather than how it compares directly to another machine. The Dell XPS 15 is cheaper than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5, but also cannot be configured with the same high-performance components.

But it’s better for being a thin and light 15-inch machine overall, with a cohesive design and construction that elevates it above the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5. However, if you’re looking for the most power, Lenovo’s wins laptop.

Editors’ recommendations

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